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  • Critics and audiences both pretty much panned this movie, but I actually didn't think it was too bad! Even the critics I normally agree with thought it was crap, and I normally despise PG-13 "horror films." So this means one of two things: either (1) I'm too easily pleased, and my taste in movies has dwindled over the years, or (2) 'When a Stranger Calls' isn't nearly as horrible as it's made out to be. Now, to be fair, some of the criticisms of the movie are true--there's not much character development, and not much happens in the story. But man alive folks, how much were you expecting from a movie about a babysitter being stalked? Cut them some slack! As a former babysitter who was watching this flick late at night with the lights out, I can safely say the stalker dude was one creepy mofo! Who knows? I guess stuff like this just gives me the willies.

    Yes, I admit I had fun watching this, and I don't care how big of a minority that puts me in. ;)
  • Rathko13 February 2006
    I'm starting to wonder if all these PG-13 horror movies are just glorified screen tests for young and emerging talent. Get a first-time screenwriter, an inexperienced director, a few TV actors looking for their bigscreen break and see what they can do. 'When a Stranger Calls' is a little better than most such recent offerings, but is still completely by-the-book; riddled with plot holes and genre clichés.

    The story is unbelievably simplistic. The slim 87 minute running time is heavily padded with inconsequential friends and a pointless cheating boyfriend. The killer is devoid of even the token motivation of Jason or Michael or even the original movie's killer, and as a result is never particularly frightening. The police behave in such an unbelievably ineffectual and lazy manner as to verge on professional misconduct. Simon West brings the same attractive banality to proceedings that he managed with Lara Croft, but his style of directing is decidedly generic, possessing no indicators of real talent or vision. The performances are routine, dark hallways replace genuine horror, and the scares are of the tired cat-in-the-closet variety.

    The cinematography and production design, however, are above average for this kind of film. The house is beautifully designed, all dark wood and glassy reflections, and there are a few moments that are of visual interest.

    Though lacking an ounce of dramatic originality, it acts as a reasonably satisfying 'dark house' thriller, and maintains interest longer than most of its ilk.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I liked this movie. I'm not a big horror movie buff so i couldn't comment on similarities between this and other movies of this genre, but i found this movie quite captivating. the story line, albeit a little obvious, had some genuinely scary/tense moments and the acting (particually of the lead female role) wasn't bad in anyway

    Overall i'm a little surprised at the low rating this movie has gotten. I watch a lot of movies (working in a video store tends to help) and this really isn't as bad as people seem to think. I do have some criticism though. The final call from the cop was terrible, almost overacted, the dead girl in the bathroom looked liked she was having a little sleep (probably from the amount of tequila she mentioned she drank) and the children's reaction to what was happening instilled in me the hope that they were ultimately killed

    hope this helps some people
  • When A Stranger Calls is a remake of a 1979 film of the same name, a movie that i have not yet seen. The plot is quite simple. A high school chick has racked up a large phone bill and to pay it off has to do some babysitting. She babysits in a real nice house packed full of gadgets in a remote location.

    Camilla Belle is alone for the most part, she's a good-looking girl and acts pretty well. This isn't really a horror film, it's just about making you scared and it does that well for much of the time but at times it can be frustrating. It's constantly building up tension but to be honest, will little action and that's where it can get slightly boring.

    I have a few issues with this movie, but that's not to say I'm slagging it off because it wasn't a bad movie, with suspense and manages to entertain somewhat. But why the did the Mandrakis' need a babysitter in the first place? They had a maid. Why didn't she just look out for the kids? Secondly, if she was there, then why not any conversation between the two. They could have at least said a few words and not just the maid saying hello.

    Thirdly, why did Tiffany come along only for a few minutes?. What was the point? and drove all the way up to that remote location. That must have really meant at least 30 minutes or even more she wouldn't be spending at the bonfire party.

    And, why didn't Jill go check the kids more?. OK, she did after the stranger's call. But she's the frigging babysitter. Surely, she would have had the decency to check the children are fine more often.

    Plus, there was a lot of noise. Phone ringing quite a few times. Jill making noise from being scared, answering the phone, turning on the TV, music, Tiffany talking and stuff like that. Might have woken the kids.

    And finally, seems that Jill will be spending more time babysitting after another phone bill she seems to have racked up in the process.

    But anyway, who cares, half-decent entertainment, nice looking girl and house.
  • While babysitting at an isolated Colorado house, a teen girl is terrorized by an elusive murderer on the telephone.

    Remake of the 1979 semi-classic horror film basically takes the opening 20 minutes of the original film and stretches it out to fit an 87 minute time span! So it's pretty needless to say that the plot of this remake is pretty thin. There's little in the way of originality or interest in this movie. There's a lot of Camilla Belle wondering around a dark house wondering who's calling her and encountering all kinds of false scares. It all gets repetitious and routine after the first 30 minutes and never manages to muster up much in the way of suspense or chills. It certainly never reaches the intensity of the original film, especially since it wimps-out and changes one important plot point from the original. I guess we have the PG-13 rating to thank for that.

    On the plus side there's an impressive set design and some dark atmosphere, unfortunately there's not much going on around it to save this remake from being sub-par. Belle's performance is pretty mediocre too.

    It's just another unimpressive remake.

    * 1/2 out of ****
  • Having seen the original when I was 13 (and, yes, I was stupid enough to watch it while babysitting!), I was excited to see this remake.

    Camilla Bell did a great job as Jill Johnson. And the fact that a teen horror flick could be made in the year 2006 without tremendous vulgarity and gore, made it even that much stronger of a film. I had a great time trying not to chew my fingernails off!

    This film won't win anyone an Oscar, but it is entertaining and worth the matinée price ticket I bought to see it. I think girls around the world should watch the original and the remake...and then determine to never babysit again.

    All I can say is, I'm glad I'm too old to babysit! There's just something about being in a dark creepy house with sleeping kids that makes this movie classic. No blood, no gore...just good psychological fun! WINNER!
  • With all the shoot em up, blood horror movies that have come our way in the last little while "Saw, Hostal, Saw 2, The Hills have eyes" Yes, they have their place, don't get me wrong! I went to see "When a stranger calls" with my buddy the other night! Why? Because it's a remake of the 1979 classic, which at the time was excellent and scared the you know what out of everyone! I didn't know what to expect. However I was pleasantly surprised! It was a film made of mood, atmosphere, suspense! Because remember people, what you can't see, what you think you see, what you can't hear, or what you think you hear, is far more scarier then what you do! If you love films with mood, creepiness, suspense and atmosphere!! You'll love it! It brought it back to the roots of the original Halloween. Thumbs up, a solid 8.5 out of 10 Remember folks, it's well done! not perfect! It's spooky, not bloody, It's creepy, not gory! It was nice to see a film come a long like this. Our minds have been conditioned and warped by the glitz and shock value of modern day horror movies, we forget, what's really scary.
  • Im a big horror fan and I quite enjoyed this remake. With all these horror remakes floating about I think this is one of the better attempts.

    I watched it with my two little sisters and I think it made it even better as they were quite scared. Also with the shouting at the screen "Dont do that!", "Not that way!", etc. I thought there were some good little jumpy moments and it built the tension well.

    Camilla Belle is absolutely stunning in the lead role and a very good actress - So she holds your attention well.

    Overall a decent film.
  • Once in a great while I will watch a movie that completely surprises me. One that comes out of nowhere to be a bit of rousing entertainment. One that is pure fun from beginning to end. Well folks, When A Stranger Calls is NOT that movie. It is an unbelievable stupid and far fetched remake of the much better 1979 horror camp classic. Our lead heroine Jill is forced to babysit after going over her cell phone minutes and is harassed by telephone calls from a mysterious caller. Every cliché in the world is used here from the stupid cat-jumping-out-of-a-hidden-spot to the car that won't start to the killer can be anywhere at anytime. This movie is bad...not even bad in a "so bad it's good way" more in a "so bad it's boring way." Skip this godawful film and save your movie for something else. You'll thank me later, trust me on this. Grade: D-
  • and i really wanted to hate it. i so adored the original and found it offensive that it was being remade, that whole 'you cant mess with perfection' idea in my head. i came away from it with the distinct impression that the director had only the highest regard for the original film and total respect for the filmmaker. the new version tries to update the story for the 21st century and actually has some interesting takes on how modern technology can be used for scary elements. the smart house motion sensored lights added a nice touch as did caller id when its not who it says it is! although they tried too hard to bulk up the story with unnecessary side nonense and the timing was off, i give the man high marks for effort and his obvious attention to the integrity of the original work.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What should have been a routine babysitting gig at a secluded lake house turns into a night of terror, as high school student Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) receives threatening phone calls from a sadistic stalker, while trying to stay one step ahead of him.

    The first 20 minutes of the original film were pretty good but it was all downhill from there. The remake takes those first 20 minutes and stretches them into an 80 minute feature film. That's a good idea because its eliminating everything that made the original bad. However, if they wanted this film to work more effectively then they should have hired a better lead actress, better director, writer etc. There's no suspense, everything can be figured out long before it happens and it's a very dull film since not much happens. At least there isn't much to sit through since its less than 90 minutes.

    If this premise were to work, then the lead actress has to give a realistic performance. Camilla Belle gives one of the worst performances I have ever seen and throughout the whole movie, she seemed to be reading her lines. You get a lead role in a Hollywood film that will be viewed by millions of people and you give no effort at all! Why did they hire this girl? Sure, she's pretty but she can't act at all yet I suppose this won't matter to the target audience who will most likely eat this film up. The rest of the cast is bland and forgettable especially the woman who plays the maid, Rosa. Even the stranger was lame and his lines on the phone were not effective at all.

    This movie reminds me of last years disappointing horror film Boogeyman. That movie was a bunch of cheap scares and false alarms and When a Stranger Calls is pretty much the same. Jill enters a room because she hears a noise but its just a false alarm like a cat or the maid. This type of scene happens over and over again until finally after about 50 minutes, the stranger appears. He has to be one of the lamest killers ever. He carried no weapons and didn't seem to pose much of a threat. The ending is bad but it matches the rest of the film so it doesn't really matter. The film is directed by Simon West and he is really bad at building up suspense. He was using every cliché he could think of and the results weren't very good. The house was amazing and I'll give the film credit for that. It was an isolated house so it was pretty creepy but that's about the only good thing this film has to offer. In the end, if you're not a teenage girl then you should skip the movie. Rating 2/10
  • Brett Davidson10 February 2006
    6/10
    Bland
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie had potential to be a good little high school thriller. Instead, we got a bore fest about a whiny, spoiled brat babysitting. The problem was there were too many unnecessary things. A fight with the boyfriend, random friends coming over to be killed. It was obvious they were just killing time. The main character was bland and uninteresting. Camilla Bell had no emotion during this movie. She was just there. Another problem was the fact that the killer was not a threat. The children survive, so it's obvious they are going to let Jill survive. The only reason this got a four was because the last ten minutes (when the killer FINALLY comes out) is actually exciting.

    4/10
  • diana5 February 2006
    I'm not even get creative with the review. it sucked.

    The use of this amazing house, waste of time. It was a distraction by the director to give you something interesting or pretty to look at.

    Camilla Belle has about as much charisma and screen presence as my last yeast infection.

    Simon West's DGA card needs to be confiscated.

    I hate whoever greenlit this.

    I did not pay to see it. I snuck in.

    Hollywood please stop.

    Seriously, no more garbage.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Oh, God, why? Why do they keep making crappy movies and trying to make them scary? Seriously, it's a POS. It's not scary or even interesting.

    Let's see here. We have a dumb high school girl who is having guy problems and an inability to control her cell phone minutes. Added on top of this is the fact that her "best friend" kissed her boyfriend. Don't worry, it's a crappy subplot that is resolved by the friend's death (ohh...who didn't see that crap coming?) She is babysitting and spend about 10 minutes going "I wish I was rich like this. Look at these clothes, blah blah blah." Ugh, forget it, I'm just going to skip ahead. It's basically over an hour of "Hello?" *Heavy Breathing* "Hello?" *Hangs up* So just skip ahead to the ending. This is a POS. The maid and the best friend are killed off-screen and you really aren't scared or surprised by their death. The foreshadowing is beautiful, too. I don't think it's subtle enough.

    Then the kids are hiding, BUT THERE IS NO REASON FOR THEM TO HIDE. THE GIRL JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT THE KILLER AND THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL THE KIDS COULD HAVE HEARD HER/KNOW THE TRUTH. HELL, THEY PUT PILLOWS IN THEIR BED TO SEEM LIKE THEY ARE ASLEEP AS THEY HID IN A FREAKIN' TRUNK. GOD I HATE THIS MOVIE.

    Sorry, I just finished this film and I'm just roaring with anger. The ending was terrible.

    "Durrrr...we sedated the killer after we caught him, going to put him in a hospital, and put 4 cops on him." "That won't be enough." I THINK 4 COPS WILL BE ENOUGH FOR A GENERIC KILLER. HE ISN'T JASON OR ANYTHING! Then the ending. Jesus, what a piece of crap. I was so mad I turned on the commentary and I just want to find the director and make him sign a contract to never direct/produce again.

    This review is random and full of anger, etc. and I know this. I just don't want anyone else making the mistake of watching this piece of crap. Stay away. Anyone who says this movie is good probably was in this film/has severe brain damage.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Don't listen to most of these people. ill give you a better review of this movie which me and my friend love! Its about Jill Johnson, played by Camilla Belle, who babysits at the Mendrakis' house and someone breaks in. if you're wondering how he got in the house, he went through the garage most likely. so anyway, don't listen to, "the worst acting". it has amazing acting. with a great story. I think that there are 2 benefits that Jill has. 1. shes a fast runner and is on the track team. 2.she got out alive! lol.

    it is a cool movie and quite scary. check it out, you will be happy with this masterpiece. don't listen to the other people on the site. its very good. trust me, i am good at reviewing movies. I'm a future movie critic. i totally want to buy this movie. and you will too when you see it. it is amazingly awesome.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I don't watch very many 'horror' movies, but one night I sat down and watched this with my cousins. Now, we're teenagers, so we tend to make fun of a lot of things, but honestly, the acting here really wasn't very good, especially at the beginning. One line that stood out was when Scarlett says to Jill and Tiffany, "This is so... high school!" while the next scene shows Jill walking past a sign with their High School name on it... Many parts at the beginning reminded me of a corny, badly-written, badly-acted Lizzie McGuire episode. However, as the story progressed, and the cast moved on to just about only Jill most of the time, I was able to appreciate the movie more. Camilla Belle did really well in this movie, and I think that the other actors and actresses ruined the movie for her. And I must admit, this was one of the scariest movies I've ever seen. Well, no, there weren't big monsters and white faces appearing in dark corners and possessed dolls, but the thing that made this movie scarier than ones containing those things is that it really could happen. And this movie really reminded me of what really IS scary... We all know we're not likely to stumble upon the living dead any time in our lives, but the idea of having a murderer inside the house you're babysitting at could really happen. The only flaw with this movie is that it's one of the most cliché movies I've ever seen. It has everything in it that any horror movie has ever had- turning the keys and the car starts, shadows in the corner, turning the corners of the stairs with suspense, turning around and seeing a dead body, ending a fatal scene quickly with waking up from a dream, etc. At the suspenseful scenes, it was very predictable, but overall, I would give it a 7/10. It's definitely worth seeing.

    By the way, This is my first review, so I don't know if any of those things were spoilers.. But just to be safe...
  • vlada011-115 July 2006
    I was surprised that this movie is so poorly rated. I think it is excellent and so refreshing in the horror genre. The story itself is old and familiar but the director, leading actress and everybody else who participated in producing of this movie made something new. I certainly wasn't bored although the movie is slow and nobody gets killed every ten minutes like in every other horror movie. The best way to describe it is to compare it to Hitchcock movies. The tension slowly gathers and culminates in the end.I think that most people did not expect that if they were watching trailer, which would be a great mistake to make because you will almost see the ending and it just spoils the fun.Really, who makes this trailers, it is like movie-a-minute.
  • I'm probably going to get a lot of grief for this, but I was personally scared witless. Right from the get-go, from the terrifying opening I wasn't expecting to the chilling ending, the suspense kicks in and doesn't let up. Though it was fairly easy to predict who was going to die and who wasn't, it didn't make the deaths any less scarier or shocking. The story is simple enough: Jill Johnson is your every-day, average sixteen-year-old girl going through a rough time with her friend and boyfriend which caused her to go so far over her cell phone minutes that her parents grounded her for a month, taking away her cell phone and her car. She must pay them back by babysitting for Dr. Mandrakis and his wife at their enormous hill-set home. When she arrives it's obvious that it will be an easy night: the kids are already asleep and she has access to everything that the house has to offer, including a well-stocked fridge, TV and stereo, and a koi pond/aviary in the middle of the house. However, it isn't long before the phone calls start. Sometimes it's just heavy breathing, sometimes it's a little talking, but they don't last for more than a few seconds. Jill finally gets exasperated and calls the police, but calms down when she realizes that the family's maid is still in the house. However, when the caller asks, "Have you checked the children?" Jill gets annoyed and treks upstairs to find the kids safe in their bed. It's not until two seconds later that the phone rings asking, "How were the children?" that Jill really starts to freak out. The twist about the caller is revealed in the trailer, but it doesn't take from the suspense at all. A feature that the house has is motion-sensitive lights, which turn on upon entry in the room. I thought this would take away from the suspense because you'd know where someone was at all times, but it doesn't at all, and is in fact used in one extremely suspenseful scene very masterfully. All in all, I thought the movie was very well made, and I will definitely go see it again. I highly recommend it, if you can let go of the improbable premise, which maybe isn't so improbable after all...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This has to be one of the most pathetic and unimaginative "horror" movie ever made. At first I thought that it was just another one of those bland "PG-13" horror films...But it turned out to be much worse than that.

    First of all, this pseudo "horror" film is not scary or thrilling at all, it is just a dumb and cheap repetition of many clichés that appeared in many other slasher films involving this, except than in this movie there is no gore or anything like that (In order to keep the PG-13 rating) Of course, not all the horror movies need to include gallons of blood in order to be scary (In fact, many non-scary horror films have lots of gore and that quality doesn't make them any better) but seriously, "When a Stranger Calls" it's so idiotic, plain, tamed and unimaginative that after I watched it I was convinced that the whole horror genre was doomed. It was that bad.

    The acting was bad, the characters were dull, the almost non-existent plot was terrible and every single attempt to be scary or "thrilling" was just plain stupid and bland: This movie wasn't even like those kind of films that are so bad that are funny (Like the movies that appeared in Mystery Science Teather 3000) being just bad and boring instead.

    This is definitely one of the worst movies that I've seen in my life. If you hate the tamed PG-13 horror movies, then avoid it. And if you don't, I still recommend you to skip this movie and watch anything else instead.

    0/10 (And I would rate it with negatives if I could)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I pay to see a bad movie....I get really angry and definitely more scary than this movie.

    Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle) must work as a babysitter to pay her phone bills.When she gets to the home,in a hidden place in the mountains,she starts receiving calls of some stranger.Well that's it,as simple as that,don't expect any twist in the drama,don't expect the good guy turn into the bad guy,don't expect anything special but some scared girl receiving calls,entering rooms and getting scared by cats jumping from hidden places,clothes and some shadows.Director Simon West is always trying to keep the suspense during the whole movie by playing suspense music in the background.We can even hear this music in the background when nothing terrifying is happening,just Jill and her father talking about the phone bills NOTHING ELSE.This is obviously a bad intent to keep the viewer interested and expecting something when the movie never really gets scary.Then Jill gets in every room of the house while she receives calls from the stranger,and just when we think things are gonna get interesting...is just a cat jumping from a hidden place,they have you waiting the ENTIRE movie for something really scary to happen that when it happens it has lost its impact completely.When the bad guy appears,maybe to keep the bad suspense,his face is covered by the shadows and you cant see his face until the end,just another intent to hide Simon's unexciting imagination and creativity.The plot of the movie is also not believable,how a sick sexual predator could get into a home with security alarms and run through the house without being spotted???,and why he wants Jill when he can get anyone else?,does he knows her? from where?,how did he know she was going to be the babysitter in that house? judging by the location of the house is not believable. No Simon,I am not going to turn my brain off,and one more thing...THIS SUCKS!.
  • 4.2 What? What is with a 4.2? Too hard on the film. The movie is not a Scream type film. I was surprised. The movie makers did a film in a way that could actually happen. I like the concept! Not a fantasy Scream style film. A nice break in the horror movie filming. The over the top stunts, and blood is replaced with the sick mind and tension of a predator. A slow burn. The story has many little extras. I would watch the movie again. I guess the urban legend has killed the plot twists. If one does not know the story the better the film will unravel. The Colorado back drop is lovely but spooky at the same time. The woods and the cabin feel of the house give a wild and unsafe what is in the woods lurking atmosphere. 7 or 8 out of 10. Worth cheap night. A Friday night date movie. I would buy the movie for 9.99 at Wal-Mart.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was terrible. The story line seemed quite interesting at first but still it turned out to be pretty bad. Jill (the horribly wooden Camilla Belle) goes over her cell phone minutes and is forced to babysit for a rich family who lives in a beautiful mansion in the middle of nowhere. It's the perfect job. Nice house to explore, children are asleep, fridge is stocked. Until she starts getting calls from a stranger asking "have you checked the children?". Of course you all know, the calls are coming from inside the house.

    First of all, there was no twist ending. The stranger just ended up being some random serial killer, stalking and murdering young babysitters. The killer and the girl were such idiots. A pointless waste of time.

    Second, this movie had plot holes the size of Texas. For example, when the police trace Jill's call and find out they are coming from inside the house, why did they not catch on and tell her that there is a serial killer? How did the blonde friend know where the house was? The blonde friend was killed outside, how did her body get in the bathroom of the house?

    Camilla Belle is one of the worst actresses to ever grace the screen. She was just so bad it was unbelievable. Line after line was delivered without emotion and she had this dumb blank stare constantly on her face.

    She's pretty though, and her all wet in the pool kept me from falling asleep.

    1/10.
  • Allendorf15 February 2006
    One sentence to sum up everything: Don't Watch this Movie. If you're still curious, watch the trailer since it has everything you need to fully enjoy this movie.

    After weeks of watching many movies in year 2006 - without doubt, this movie is one of the worst and is an utter disgrace to Hollywood. The movie has failed in all aspects but most profoundly in its lacking of the real story line. The story line is somehow a replica to very common horror movie (you got bad man out there and start running around with not clear idea: WHY? WHY? WHY?).

    There are a lot of questions that the director should answer in this movie, or at least in the end of the movie - but in fact, nothing is answered. The whole content of the focus is simply running around like crazy while there is really no twist (utter boring).

    Great disappointment...........

    just don't watch!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When A Stranger Calls got a bit of a critical bashing when it was released back in February. I guess it was to be expected since most critics are a little hard on the horror genre in general but I was a bit surprised by the bashing it got from regular movie goers like you and I. It has a rather low 4.2 rating at IMDb and if you go to the message board on the site for this film the comments aren't too pretty. Despite this bashing it didn't stop the film from opening at number one and grossing almost 50 million dollars.

    I may be the minority, but I really think that most people were wrong about this one. It is by no means a perfect film but as a remake to an already flawed production i think it succeeds by being better than the original. Again I may be in the minority on that statement but after watching the original film the night before I saw this, I had a fresh perspective.

    The original When A Stranger Calls was released in 1979 ( a year after the superior Halloween) and was a moderate success based on its heart pounding opening 20 minutes. We've all heard the babysitter alone in the house while a madman calls her from inside the house urban legend and the film's opening toyed with our knowledge of this and did a good job of generating tension.

    The problem with the original is that once the 20 minute opening has passed, the film slows to a snail's pace. The middle of the film doesn't provide any thrills and you have to wait until the last 10 minutes for things to pick up again. If there was any film that needed to be plucked out of the remake box it was this film.

    The new version takes the opening 20 minutes and turns it into a 90 minute motion picture. This does present some problems because things get tedious after awhile but the best moments of the original translate well here and I for one thought it was a decent improvement.

    A babysitter, Jill Johnson (Camilla Belle), arrives at the lakeside Colorado home of Dr. and Mrs. Mandrakis (Derek de Lint and Kate Jennings Grant), to care for their two children while they do the "dinner and a movie" thing. Almost immediately, Jill begins to get ominous prank calls: heavy breathing and messages wondering if she has checked the children. Eventually, freaked out and unable to reach anyone by phone (her parents are at a concert and everyone from her high school is attending a bonfire party in a location that conveniently does not have cell service), she contacts the police. They trace the call and determine it's coming from within the house.

    This is a set-up that I don't think can get old. Both guys and girls know what it's like to be in the house alone sometimes and get suitably creeped out by every noise, creek, and motion of our home. the film toys with those fears but generating some decent tension early on. Some might get bored by the numerous scenes of Jill just walking around the house but I for one found them necessary to lead up the slam-bang final 20 minutes. It does get a little repetitive after awhile but for the most part it works.

    The house is also a character in and of itself. Glass houses tend to be creepy to me in general but since this home is in the middle of nowhere and is grand in stature, it tends to be even more frightening. The production designer should be proud of this creation because it's truly something.

    The final 20 minutes are also noteworthy. After all the build up we're rewarded with a nice game of cat and mouse between the Stranger and Jill. It helps that we see very little of him since he's mostly shown in shadow, thus making him truly more creepy. You can tell the original concept of Michael Myers from the first Halloween is a model for this stalker and if you're going to imitate someone, it might as well be the best of the bunch.

    The film truly falters on one major level and it's enough for me to bring the grade down to something just slightly above average. The performance of Camille Belle really drags the film down. I haven't seen her other films but she seems out of place here. Her interpretation of Jill is too juvenile and she cannot carry the film on her little shoulders. She seemed amateur throughout most of the film. She redeems herself a bit during the final 20 minutes but by that point it's too late to truly save her performance. Since we're left alone with her for much of the running time she has to win our sympathy and she doesn't. I got into the film merely because i kept wondering what i would do in that situation and not because I particularly cared about her.

    Despite this When A Stranger Calls is suitable entertainment. It's not the new horror de jour and it certainly won't go down as a classic by any means but it is better than the source material and for that reason alone I think you should give this film a bit of a chance before you dismiss it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While i read all of the complaints about this movie before i saw it, i still had interest from the preview. I don't know if it was because i was expecting a bomb or what, but i really enjoyed the movie. The I was not very frightened at all until the second half of the movie, but even then it wasn't very bad at all. I think that most of the scenes and false alarms were realistic, if a little too coincidental, but it was necessary to move the story along. I think that the house and surrounding area is the perfect setting for this type of movie, it is beautiful and huge, but then the same qualities that are attractive become scary. I also think that the light arrangement worked extremely well because not only did they turn on upon entry, but there was no way to keep them on, so the house stayed dark outside of the small section Jill was in.

    Speaking of Jill, i thought her part was acted pretty well, at first it wasn't as believable, but after a few phone calls it was fine. In fact the scenes where she is frightened are acted perfectly. And, finally, someone got the fire poker right. I can't tell you how many times when i hear a noise at my house i grab the fire poker, and it was a nice touch for her to do the same, even though she idiotically forgets it when she needs it most.

    In regards to the plot holes, the movie is not perfect but almost every hole can be explained, and part of the mystery is how he got in..exactly, how long was he watching her? how did he get out to kill her friend? and when exactly did the gardener die? overall, i enjoyed it and i was surprised how quickly it went. It kept my attention, and i wanted to see how it ended, although the ending was very brief and left a bad taste in my mouth. My only complaint, other than the ending, was the lack of character development. They could have added ten minutes with her and her friends or something to make us feel bad for her situation more, to give us a taste of her personality and to give us foreshadowing to how she will handle the situation(for example, the scene where she debates whether to go back for the kids, it looks like some scene is missing at the beginning that talked about her only caring about herself or something).
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